THERE’S a serious message behind the infectious, funky music of Randa and the Soul Kingdom.
Lead singer Randa Khamis says their latest single Put Your Hands Up is is all about “bringing people together regardless of their age, race, class and gender.
“This song is celebrating that right to express yourself in any way you want without being judged.
“I’ve grown up knowing what it was like to be marginalised.”
Khamis’ parents were refugees from Palestine and moved to Jordan before arriving in Australia a few decades ago.
Times were tough and the family initially struggled to make ends meet.
“I knew what music meant to me, because it was the only main form of joy because things were just so hard,” Khamis says.
Randa and the Soul Kingdom are inspired by the likes of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, James Brown and Aretha Franklin. The band has an international flavour with Fransisco Munoz from Chile, James Vinciullo (half-Italian, half-Australian) and the rest with English backgrounds.
“I wanted to just say to people, we want everyone to come together,” Khamis says. “No one wants to be set aside and told you’re not allowed to dance, you know. We are celebrating what music is about.”
Since forming in 2007, Randa and The Soul Kingdom have released two albums and toured Europe.
After the second album, most of the band went off to pursue other projects and Khamis had to quickly find talented replacements.
“I was just standing there going, ‘wow we’ve got all these amazing songs and it would be a shame to, you know, let it all die’,” Khamis says.
“I’m actually pretty glad that I took it upon myself to keep the torch alive”.
“I find this resilience to keep going, even in the face of adversity, because I’ve already come from hard times”.
Randa and the Soul Kingdom will launch their new single at the Sewing Room on Wolf Lane, Perth on October 4.
by ALEX MURFETT